Two things have happened more or less simultaneously. The world passed through a historic transformation associated with the computer and the internet. This has been and will be a cause of profound economic and social disruption, and at the same time a great creator of wealth, a great enhancement of efficiency, and a great enrichment of life for those who have access to these resources and make good use of them. And then there is a separate development, the inscrutable financial economy abetted by the internet, which has led to the overvaluing and then the collapse of basic elements of the traditional economy, notably pensions and real estate. Austerity policies, with the threat of worse to come, move people to put money in banks, or in investments they hope are safe, which no longer include the family home. If I cannot assume my adult children will have the pensions and benefits I enjoy, I will be much more inclined to make sure they have a good inheritance. This amounts to a fundamental reordering of American life. The wealth that was once frozen in appreciated value and thawed at the discretion of the owner, in homes, notably, is now, increasingly, liquid in the hands of international financial institutions.